Wednesday, 25 May 2016

The FODMAP Diaries: Elimination Stage Week Two

So lets get it out there, I totally failed at introducing new foods into my diet, I have had more panic attacks this week than ever before (mostly when on the bus and convinced I wouldn't make it to work without shitting myself - note, I managed to get to work and to a toilet just in time.) and have had the most frustrating doctors appointment today with a doctor who said my bloods were abnormal but shes not worried (why bring me back for an appointment then?) To then prescribe me fibogel which is for constipation - something I have never had, in fact I am quite the oppostie, doing to the toilet up to 20 times a day.

However, its not all doom and gloom? I have been working hard at work despite surviving on jelly babies, plain crisps and sainsburys free from sausages. I have found some probiotics here from Holland and Barratt which look to be suitable and I am going to start taking them! I am on countdown, 3 weeks until my holiday, and I am looking forward to getting in the sun (albeit a little worried about the food situation)

Hope you are all getting on ok, gentle hugs



Saturday, 21 May 2016

The FODMAP Diaries: Elimination Stage Week One.

So, this update is slightly late as Wednesday started my second week on the low FODMAP diet, but I have been on night shifts and thought you wouldn't mind (if anyone is actually reading this haha)

So how did I get on?

When my doctor mentioned the low fodmap diet I went into it all guns blazing. I bought a book, downloaded some apps and started. The first few days I felt quite easy and straight away the bloating went down (and no one has asked me if I am pregnant so that's a win win right?) I seemed to lose my appetite and then on the Saturday I was really craving a pizza.

So we went along to Tesco and bought safe pizza bases, safe cheeses, safe passata and I really went to town. Which then left me in agony. Theories are that either the bases contained pea protein or that I had too much cheese but either way I spent a couple of days in complete agony with D symptoms, followed by a few days of C.

The worst part about it was that it made me feel really scared to eat anything. I ended up sticking to plain crisps, sainsburys free from sausages, plain chicken breasts and potatoes. This has lead to an internal battle between trying to keep myself from feeling poorly, but also knowing that this is not healthy and I need more fruit and veg.

My biggest battles this week seem to be in my head. I finished my night shifts yesterday morning (and I start again tomorrow night but I don't want to think about that yet ...) and all I could think about was how much I wanted a croissant and a hot chocolate. I was frustrated that I can no longer treat myself to a nice breakfast out post night shifts, but once I was less tired I started to think about how much this diet is going to give me rather than take away.

I am starting to get a bit more variety now, and next weeks mission is to start getting back to a healhy, varied (as much as you can on low FODMAP)

I cant recommend the Monash Fodmap app, the fodmap by fm app and the Fodmap UK facebook group who are so supportive

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

My Home Goals

Recently I have been spending a lot of time on pinterest pinning thoughts for my dream home, and yet I have been feeling more and more down about my current home. With how low and unwell I have been feeling like I don't want to tidy my house and feel like I have been really living in this space that doesn't make me happy. I am behind on everything, and having to spend a lot of time inside has been making me really unhappy.

So I started thinking what can I change? Obviously it needs to be on a budget because most of my money needs to go towards the new house we are hoping to buy. I am hoping over the next few months to make small changes and mood boards for each room which I will be sharing on here but essentially.

Lounge I want my lounge to be a cosy place, I have a sort of reading nook under my stairs that I want to get a lamp for and spend more time there reading. As our front door leads into our lounge I sometimes feel shoes, post etc tends to build up in here.

Kitchen This needs a lot of reorganisation! This is a kitchen, laundry, dumping ground. I need the table to be used, I need washing up to be done and put away more regularly and I need clothes to be moved upstairs in good time.

Bedroom I want my bedroom to be kind of split into two areas ... the bed and relaxation area and then my wardrobe and dressing area. I also want room for yoga and meditation as its something I need to do more.

Anyone got any tips on decorating a rented place on a budget?

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Body Positivity!

Recently I have been watching a lot about body positivity. Its something I have struggled with throughout my life. Especially since going onto the low FODMAP diet and having some problems, I have found that most of the foods I relied on during Slimming World could be upsetting my stomach in terms of my IBS. It makes sense actually when I think about it, when I was at my thinnest I was in hospital the most with the pain I have ever had (and I was eating a lot of onion, garlic, mushrooms, apples ... all high FODMAP foods)

Anyway, after seeing the Miss England documentary (read here) I was determined to stop living for "oh when I am thin I will do this or that" and start really enjoying my life and body as it is. My focus has shifted onto getting my body healthy from the inside, this IBS has plagued me for far too long and I really need to give it my all now and take the bad days with the good. Take my medication, follow the FODMAP diet 100% but mostly work on my mind.

I have been watching a lot of body positive youtube videos lately and there are two that have really stood out to me and I have enjoyed a lot:

This video of Jessamyn Stanley was shared on the mode youtube page and I was mesmerised by it. I found it when I was at my lowest. There was a debate in the comments about her saying she was healthy. While I am not going to get into a debate about the fat and healthy thing, what surprised me was that no one thinks about mental health. Surely by accepting yourself, that can really help you be mentally healthy and that is one step towards a holistic healthy person

Also, I came across LearningToBeFearless and had been watching her plus size hauls and seeing how confident she looked and then todays video below sparked this post today

I need to stop comparing, start living. Start wearing clothes that I enjoy instead of trying to blend in. Most of all I need to look after my body, because its not well and I need to try and help it recover as best I can.

Are there any other body positive videos you think I should be watching?

Monday, 16 May 2016

Sick Days.

I started the Low FODMAP diet last wednesday and it seemed to be going well. I managed to do my two night shifts on a busy assessment unit without feeling too lethargic and I was quite optimistic. Then Saturday night I hit my first stumbling block - I was craving pizza. 

So we went to tesco and bought some bits to make what I thought was a safe pizza. Gluten free base, passata, and cheese toppings (on fodmap you are lactose free but there are a lot of safe cheeses, something to do with how its made, im not an expert yet!) 

Anyway, come 9pm I was in agony. Hot bath, peppermint tea, paracetemol and IBS tablets seemed to do nothing. I took to the UK FODMAP group and apparently there are two possibly culprits - the free from pizza base I chose has pea protein in it or I may be sensitive to dairy. Both things I will investigate in time.

For now though I am on my second day of disturbed sleep, stomach cramps and being unable to eat anything apart from ready salted crisps without feeling extremely sick. 

I also had a message from my Dr Surgery that my blood test results are abnormal. Nothing serious, just a routine appointment next week to discuss them! 

Just wanted to put a little update as my blog might be a little quiet, I have nothing pre written and all my energy is going into making sure I recover in time for work wednesday night ...

Saturday, 14 May 2016

The realities of chronic illness ...


One of the biggest things I find living with an invisible illness is that outwardly I look fine. In fact after living with various health problems for about 10 years now (I am pretty sure it started with a bout of glandular fever when I was 16 that almost ended me in intensive care) I had started to convince myself it was all in my head when countless doctors failed to diagnose anything. 

I had my gallbladder out, I had cysts removed from my ovaries. I lost weight which actually made me a lot more poorly (if FODMAP is to be believed this could have been because I added garlic to everything) 

On a good day I feel great! I may have to go to the toilet numerous times but that is something I am used to. Sometimes it's difficult going to new places though. When I'm in Leicester or Birmingham I know where there are toilets. I know the public ones and also the department stores etc. I get nervous when I go further afield and don't necessarily know and that triggers my anxiety which makes my IBS worse (the joys.)

The photos above were taken a couple of days apart. On the right I was on my way to a blogger event at the stables (which I wasn't sure peas going to make) and I had a fantastic day, but it meant that I had to spend the next few days recovering!!

Sometimes I have to cancel plans last minute. I could be fine, go to bed, and wake up feeling like I have been hit by a train. Luckily, I have a fantastic group of friends who understand me. That said I have had friendships end because of this! One so called friend decided that "everything is about your illness" was a good line to throw at me. Needless to say we are no longer friends. 

I guess I want to kind of round this up by saying thank you to those who understand, especially if you aren't personally living with a chronic illness! You are gems!

I'm hoping over the next few months to write more advice posts! I'm going to hopefully eat out while on the FODMAP elimination phase, attending events, mind and meditation etc

Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Stable, Birmingham

Last Sunday I was lucky enough to be invited to The Stable in Birmingham for their blogger event. As a west midlands girl at heart I absolutely love Birmingham and try to visit as often as I can. Especially with the opening of Grand Central, Birmingham seems to be thriving.

Located on John Bright Street, just a stones throw from the station, The Stable is primarily a pizza and cider restaurant, with a relaxed dining feel and beautiful d├ęcor. The exposed brickwork gives it a real urban, new York almost feel.

I love that the ingredients are locally sourced and each of their branches have distinct local pizzas (with names such as the Bull Ring boar)

We then had a talk about cider making, and especially Hogans cider! Before being presented with the cider tasting boards to sample ourselves. I found that I liked cider ... and I was not expecting that! As someone who has only drank fruit ciders before (some of which I am reliably informed are not real ciders) I shocked myself by only really disliking one of the ciders I was given to try!

These tasting boards are £7.50 and you get to try 5 1/3 pints of cider which is a massively good deal!

We were then let loose in the kitchen! As this was my last pizza before starting the FODMAP Diet (Read more here) I went for all of the things that are going to be banned - mushrooms, chorizo, caramelised onions, lots of cheese and pineapple - on their amazingly crispy sourdough base. I have to say it was the best pizza I have ever tasted!

I had a lovely day, and made some lovely blogger friends! Thank you so much to the stable for inviting me, and actually looking at their menu and seeing that they do gluten free bases I may be able to go back for a pizza during my FODMAP elimination phase! Watch this space ...